[Jay-Z’s “Dead Presidents III”] ♪ ♪ – ♪ High school graduates ♪ ♪ Straight to the league ♪ ♪ I ain’t waitin’ for my knee to blow ♪ ♪ Yesterday I was needin’ this dough ♪ ♪ Get it? I was kneadin’ this dough ♪ ♪ ♪ – I’ve heard you say many times, “I just don’t want to be broke again.” – [chuckling] – And that feeling comes from, I tell people all the time, LeBron grew up in the projects that was at the bottom of the hill. Like, if someone from Akron asked you, “Where you from? “, you say, “The bottom.”
– The bottom. – Growing up as a kid, did you know that, or were you just having fun being a kid? – Nah. You didn’t know that. I didn’t know that, ’cause I was having so much fun being in the bottom. I didn’t want to go to the top as a kid.
– [chuckling] – I was afraid of the top. You know, that’s what made me who I am today. It kinda just gave me that structure.
But like you said, yeah, the bottom is, uh, you know, is where I grew up at. – Yes, literally and figuratively. – Right, literally and figuratively, the bottom. – You know, there’s a lot of athletes who talk about money, like… – Right.
– You never really had that– is that just a conscious thing you have, or is it something you don’t want out there? – I think that just come from my upbringing. You know, it’s like, you know, my uncles always taught me, like– they was my savings account.
They taught me how to have a savings account, so, you know, if they give me a dollar, they be like, listen, nephew, you know, you already spent 35¢ of it. You can keep the other 65. You know, or if they gave me two dollars, they’d be like, you know, go ahead and spend a dollar of it.
But stash the other dollar. So I’m always in my head about stashing and, like, keeping my money, like, you know, sacred and to myself, because I didn’t know when the next– I didn’t know if my uncle was gonna give me another dollar here or another 50¢ here, so I’ve always kind of had that– like, that closure about my finances and things of that nature. – You grew up in the bottom. We grew up in the hood.
Like, but your kids growing up in a big, gigantic house with another house in LA. – Yeah, they be on the top. – Yeah.
– Yeah, they beyond the top. – They beyond the top. – Yeah. So, how do you teach them or talk about the bottom to them? – Nah, they would never understand that there’s a bottom.
And, um–and that’s the challenge of a parent, every single day, that I kinda have to juggle with. How do I raise my kids knowing that they will never feel or understand what their father went through? But you just give them life goals. You give them challenges. And at the end of the day, they gonna have to walk their own path. You know, just like we did.
You know, even– no matter if you came from the top of the top, or you come from the bottom of the bottom, you still have a road to travel. – You’re very good at need versus want. How do you deal with that? Because obviously, as a kid, you had nothing. – Right. You know, you have the need, you have the want.
And obviously, there’s things that sometimes I don’t really need that I buy anyway because I wanted it at that point in time. But when it really comes to a really, really tough decision, then I think in my head, I always, like, resort back to the bottom. It’s like–it just creeps into my head. And I just be like–and I end up just saying, like, “I don’t–I don’t need it.” I don’t need it.
For what? You know, I got… I got everything I could want and more, and there’s nothing more that I could give myself that would make me happier than I am right now. – You also spend a lot of time and have built a fantastic foundation that really… – Yeah. – How do you look at the lessons that you give on kids that are in the bottom? – The best thing I could give to my kids in my foundation, which is like–we had, like, 11,050 kids right now– is that I was–I was you.
I was you. So to be able to know exactly what those kids are going through and the steps that they’re taking, because I actually walked those streets, I sat in those classrooms, I had those nights where I was like, why me? Why us? You know, there’s no way we getting out of this situation. And to get to that point where I am today, it gives those kids a broader view. You know, it opens their mind 360 now, instead of just having, you know, the horses at the Kentucky Derby look.
You know, where you just– that’s all you see. – The blinders on. – With the blinders. All you see.
It gives them a whole, wide range of imagination, of a thought process, of “LeBron James was me “before everybody knew LeBron James. And if he can make it…” And not even saying “make it” as a professional athlete. “If he can make it from being a professional athlete “to being a designer, to being a chef, to being… the President of the United States.”
You know, as we’ve seen in Barack Obama being able to break barriers. That’s–that’s what I love more than anything, to be able to give those kids an outlook on what they really, really can become. – A couple quick ones.
Best business/financial decision you made. It could be an investment… – I made two. It’s signing with Nike and… – Signing with Nike. – And getting down with Beats. [laughter] – Two good ones.
Is there anything, a purchase, that you really regret? Like, “I wish I could have that money back?” – Yeah, I bought a house in Las Vegas. – [laughing] – Oh, my God. – When was that?
– 2005. So because– – Oh, that was the Olympics then, yeah. – So every summer, obviously, our training camp was in Vegas. I would go to Vegas. I’m young. I don’t know that, okay, yeah, I’m there for a week.
I’m having a ball there, playing, also having a good time. I’m 21, 22. My family’s coming out.
They love it. Let’s buy a house. That was so– you idiot. – [laughing] – Who–who buys a house in Vegas?
– The one thing I know you do spend money on is your car collection. – Oh, man. – You love your cars. – I love–I love cars. – Does Vannah, your wife, ever think that’s silly or, like, “I wish you didn’t–” does she ever say, “I wish you didn’t have all these damn cars?
This garage, and this garage–” – You know what? At first she thought it was silly. At first she said, like, “Oh, did you get another car? You got another car. Oh, that’s–now you got–” And then she realized, like, my cars is like her handbags and her shoes.
– Oh, that’s what she collects. – I mean, that’s what she has a lot of. – [laughing] – So meanwhile, while she’s, you know, getting a lot of handbags and a lot of shoes, that’s the one thing that I love, cars. I love cars.